1. (+1) Columbus Crew (WWWWD)
The unbeaten streak continues. The Crew bent but never broke in their scoreless draw with TFC. Indeed, they had some decent chances to nick a result at Fortress BMO--a tough place to play given the fans and the turf. It was also good to see the TFC announcing crew and ref recognizing Schelotto's penchant for pathetic "simulation". Despite the pedigree and the skill, I hate the dude's miserable flopping and constant bitching at the refs. Ah well, in a down week for the top dogs, a draw is enough to see the Crew back to the top of the heap. A home match against fellow Eastern (and Dogpile!) leaders New England is up next for Sigi's boys. Top o' the table clash, baby!
The Playoff Pack
2. (+2) New England Revolution (DWLWW)
Twellers who? The African pipeline keeps providing for Nicol's Revs as they win a match that they really should win to keep the heat on the Crew and Fire. They'll get a chance to apply some direct flames next week as they pay a visit to table-topping Columbus.
3. (-2) Chicago Fire (LWWWL)
You see what happens when you take on the mantle of Alpha Dog? Every other dog in the pack wants their pound of flesh. Chicago fail to take advantage of the Crew's draw north of the border by falling to a resurgent Dynamo side that seemed to be creating most of the chances. For a side that had only conceded three goals to this point in the season, shipping two at home had to come as a shock. Next up is a real mouth-watering grudge match away to Osorio and the Red Bulls. Too bad Osorio had to go and get himself red-carded this week.
4. (-1) New York Red Bulls (DWDWD)
The Bulls were pouring it on late, but a combination of red cards, last-ditch defending by the Wiz, and, let's face it, bad luck, held them to a draw. Still missing the central midfield tandem of Reyna and Stammler, Osorio's men looked good value for the win, only to have balls clawed, headed, or blocked off the line. Based on effort and threat, they'd move up the Pile, but failure to find the lethal touch drops them a place. Next up is a much-anticipated throwdown with a Fire organization that seems to have declared vendetta against them.
5. Toronto FC (WWWDD)
Five games unbeaten is impressive for the Reds, but they'll be ruing back-to-back draws at home against Eastern Conference rivals. A draw with the Crew was probably a fair result despite TFC having patches of real dominance. Back-to-back matches against struggling DC United this week will provide them with a big chance to get back up the table and advance their cause for one of the top spots on the Dogpile.
6. (+3) Houston Dynamo (DLDWW)
The drastic 180 continues for the Dynamo as they take the game to top dogs Chicago . . . in Chicago's own house! That sound you hear is the rest of the West scrambling to clean out their shorts. Next up is a Thursday Night Futbol visit to their former home in San Jose. Here comes the Orange Crush, MLS! Are you ready?
7. (+1) Kansas City Wizards (DWLLD)
The losing skid ends at two thanks to Kevin Hartman and a healthy dose of defensive commitment. Anything that slipped past Hartman seemed to find a KC head or shin. Maybe the Wiz could have pressed for the win when they went up a man in the second half, but a draw is a decent result given what transpired in the rest of the match. The road show against the hype-parade continues next week with a visit to Becks, Landycakes, and the girls . . . Gals, Gals, I meant to say Gals . . . honestly ;-).
8. (+3) Los Angeles Galaxy (DWDLW)
Well, that was certainly unexpected, wasn't it? The Gals are a mercurial team, almost impossible to figure out. One week they're sucking it up all over the pitch and looking like they'd fall to a U-14 girls team, the next they're handing out 5-1 maulings to the former conference leaders. Nice to see that Moneybags Becks gets a little protection from the refs as well. How 'bout a little of the same for Gallardo, MLS officials? That freakish little dwarf Michael Kennedy certainly didn't have any sympathy for his fellow tiny man, who suffered much worse at the hands of Chivas, but received no consideration from the Napoleon of the whistle-blowing crowd. Next up for the Galacticos is a home tilt against Kansas City.
Bum-sniffing Omega Mutts
9. (+1) Colorado Rapids (LLWLW)
Not exactly a dominant performance against RSL, but comfortable enough. I'm still looking for consistency (I know, I know--how can you ask for consistency from a Clavi-hole side?), a true predator up top, and a little more quality on the back line before I anoint them as one of the teams to beat in the West (which isn't exactly a tough pack to find yourself at the head of, if early season indications are to be believed--in fact, it seems all you need is a bit of that aforementioned consistency). Next up is a visit from a Chivas side desperate to prove that their result against United signals the start of a surge up the table.
10. (-3) Real Salt Lake (LLDWL)
And, yet again, we return to that oh-so familiar haunted territory that I've been harping on about for ages when it comes to RSL. All of the effort that goes into getting a good result and the attendant pride that comes along with it go flying out the window in the next match. Kreis' boys just can't seem to string a decent set of results together, and until they manage to do that, they'll just be another side that pulls off some nice victories and looks promising, but always trips over a hurdle, stumbles into the adjacent lane, twists their collective ankle, and rolls across the finish line in a dusty, bloody heap. Can they recover next week away to a suddenly vulnerable FC Dallas?
11. (+3) Chivas USA (LLDLW)
They weren't exactly a dominant force at home, but missing the amount of players that they were, the 3-1 result has got to go down as a huge victory for the Goats. United made mistakes, and Chivas were only too willing to capitalize. Next week sees the Goats hit the road for the Rockies and a date with the Rapids.
12. (-6) FC Dallas (WLDLL)
Boom! And the downward slide continues, as we all knew that it would eventually when Dallas are involved, with a hammering at the hands of the Galaxy. Four games without a win and the early pacesetters in the West are starting to slide back into the mire. Suddenly, next week's home match against RSL takes on new importance with FCD holding a scant one point lead in the table over their guests.
13. (-1) DC United (LWLLL)
United are in freefall, and I'd be surprised if Soehn survives the week. You've got to think that changes will be coming, not only at the top, but in the roster as well. There are some real deficiencies that need to be addressed, and radical surgery may be the only worthwhile option. What has to hurt the most is that the stats in the Chivas match read fairly even, and United were in control for a significant portion of the match. They just seem to be prone to periods of absolute meltdown, and that's destroying what promised to be a trophy-chasing season. The home-and-away against TFC this week will either see them make the case for an unlikely rebirth, or resign them to the MLS scrapheap for 2008.
14. (-1) San Jose Earthquakes (WLDLL)
Another loss, another match without a goal--woe be unto those accursed with the scourge known as Expansion Fever! Thank goodness for the Quakes. They just might be crappy enough to spare United the embarrassment of finishing bottom of the league. Next week at home to Quakes 1.0, the Dynamo, doesn't promise to get any easier.